Casey McGehee knee injury: What does it mean for the San Francisco Giants?


UPDATE: Sunday, April 12 at 12 p.m. PT

Rejoice! The baseball Gods have thrown the Giants a bone, as Casey McGehee’s MRI revealed nothing more than a bone bruise, meaning he could be ready by next week:

Sorry, Mr. Duvall…it appears I jumped on your bandwagon a little prematurely.

With Travis Ishikawa eligible for activation as soon as Tuesday, the Giants will likely stand pat with three bodies off the bench. On the plus side, Brandon Belt is back in the lineup today, which definitely helps soften the blow of San Francisco losing its starting third baseman. 

Matt Duffy will get the first crack at third with McGehee out.

—End of update—

The injury bug has bit the Giants once again.

Add starting third baseman Casey McGehee to an injury ward that has already claimed Hunter Pence, Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Brandon Belt just five games into the 2015 season. In his first at-bat in Saturday’s game against the Padres, McGehee skied one to center and barely left the box before crumpling to the ground in obvious pain.

Though the nature of the injury was not immediately apparent, it was announced that he had suffered a strained knee in the next inning. After the game, CSN Bay Area Insider Alex Pavlovic made it known that the “strain” was indeed a “sprain,” effectively dashing all hopes that McGehee will avoid a stint on the DL.

While every case is unique and dependent on the particular ligament that suffered damage, looking at recent knee sprains around the league, anything less than a month would be a best-case scenario.

So, what does this mean for the Giants?

To start, it means someone down in Sacramento will be hopping on a plane to San Diego. That someone will be almost certainly be a position player—the team only had two healthy bodies off the bench on Saturday—and I’ll give you one guess at to who that’s going to be…

Adam Duvall, come on down!

OK, it’s not a given that Duvall gets the call, but he’s by far the most viable option, at least for now. Ehire Adrianza is back with the organization after clearing waivers, but he doesn’t hold a spot on the Giants’ 40-man roster. Juan Perez offers speed and experience, but he’s looked terrible at the plate so far, going hitless in 14 at-bats for the Rivercats. Andrew Susac is a trendy pick, but the young catcher was injured in Sacramento’s 18-inning epic on Saturday—a game in which Duvall had four hits, by the way.

Regardless of who comes aboard, the majority of ABs will probably go to a platoon of Joaquin Arias and Matt Duffy. I give Arias the edge for now given that he’s spent more time manning the hot corner and carries a lot more big-league experience in general. The fact that he did this on Saturday can’t hurt his cause, either:

It’s also worth noting that this call-up will likely be a short-term fix since Travis Ishikawa began his rehab assignment alongside Duvall and Susac on Saturday. The utility man is eligible to rejoin the Giants as soon as Tuesday.

In the meantime, San Francisco should be thankful that Brandon Belt is supposedly ready to return, and not just to pinch hit. His presence in the lineup can’t be overstated, particularly when Buster Posey represents the team’s only other legit power threat.

McGehee hasn’t looked very good at the plate or on the field to this point, but losing him is yet another blow to a team that can ill afford any more. In the coming weeks, San Francisco will need to play virtually mistake-free baseball—so, the opposite of what we saw on Saturday—and have Bruce Bochy mix and match personnel to perfection.

If not, they risk falling behind in a division stacked with stiff competition.